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Jul 23, 15

Protests Over Sandra Bland’s Murder in Police Custody Spread

Originally posted on It’s Going Down

It went down yesterday in New York at Union Square. 12 people were arrested:

Protests against the police murder of Sandra Bland, a young African-American woman who was arrested and taken into custody in Texas, spread across the country from Oakland to New York City, where people disrupted a mall while chanting, “Fuck these Racist Police!”

New information has come forward regarding Bland’s murder. Including her last recorded phone call, dash cam footage, and the recent allegation that her mug shot was actually taken after her death. Glenn Smith, a sheriff involved in Bland’s death, was also reportedly fired from his last job in law enforcement over allegations of racism. Police claim that Bland hung herself in her cell with a trash bag, but many dispute this claim as ludicrous. Bland, who was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling, was threatened by arresting officer, Brian Encinia. “When she protested this outrageous treatment, she was threatened with a Taser by Encinia, who yelled, “I will light you up!”’ As Andre Damon wrote about the altercation:

After being forced out of the car, Bland was told by Encinia that she was under arrest. When she sought to use her phone to record the incident and asked what she was being arrested for, Encinia brutally attacked her. In a cell phone video, Bland is heard complaining loudly that her face had been slammed into the ground.

Some have also alleged that the police dash cam footage that has been released has in fact been edited. Bland, described by many as an activist and vocal opponent of police violence, is just the latest in a seemingly daily stream of atrocities committed by police against the US population, directed at people of color, and black people especially. Again, from Damon:

According to the official narrative, the newly employed young woman used a trash bag to hang herself “in a semi-standing position” from a wall partition post not much taller than her own height. Only an hour before she supposedly took this drastic action, she spoke to jail staff about making a phone call. There was, conveniently, no video of the hall leading to her jail cell in the hours before she died—according to police because the cameras are set off by motion detectors.

A comment in the New York Times by columnist Charles Blow points to a number of additional discrepancies in the official account, including the fact that video of Bland’s cell after her death shows a trash can with the garbage bag still in it. Moreover, a bible in the cell appears to have been opened to a page referencing suicide sometime after Bland was killed.

Some have also questioned if Bland’s activism led to her harsh treatment at the hands of the police.

Given the vast amount of information available to police on the political views and activities of the American population, it is likely that Encinia had at his disposal records indicating Bland’s vocal opposition on social media to police violence and her likely participation in protests against police killings. The video shows the officer taking a more provocative tone after checking her license and looking up her records in his squad car. The episode leaves the distinct impression that Bland was deliberately targeted for her political views.

In New York, hundreds rallied and marched. Disrupting activities in Union Square and Penn Station:

In Oakland, demonstrators blocked streets and buses in the Rockridge neighborhood, an upscale and largely white area:

As in most police murders, many media outlets have attempted to demonize Bland, claiming that if she would have not become “aggressive” towards police she would have lived. This racist double standard serves to show us the need to destroy and leave behind the mainstream media once and for all. Check out this racist police apologizing below:

At a memorial service for her daughter, Sandra Bland’s mother stated: “I have a baby to put in the ground. She wasn’t my convict, she wasn’t my suspect – she was my baby. Once I put this baby in the ground, I’m ready. … This means war.”

Hopefully the rest of us are ready to heed the call.

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